Information And Treatment Options For Degenerative Disc Disease

If you have been told you have degenerative disc disease, you want to learn everything you can on the condition. This way, you have a full understanding of what has caused the condition, what you can expect and what your long term prognosis is. This article will give you the information you need to have a better understanding of what's going on with your back and what treatment options are available to you.

What causes degenerative disc disease?

Degenerative disc disease can be caused by an injury, but it is most commonly caused by normal wear and tear, as well as genetics. The condition happens when the disc wears down. This wearing can cause you to experience back pain. The amount of pain you feel will depend upon the amount of wearing that's occurred to the disc and your own pain threshold. This condition is one of the more common reasons for lower back pain.

How is degenerative disc disease diagnosed?

The most common way to diagnose the condition is with an MRI. However, it can often be seen with an x-ray as well. The radiologist and your doctor will review the information in an MRI or x-ray to determine whether or not you have the condition, where it is located and to what degree.

What are the treatment options?

If you have degenerative disc disease you will find there are times when your back hurts more than others. During these times you can switch between hot and cold packs for relief. You can also take pain medication if you were provided with a prescription by your doctor. Staying hydrated can also help to ward off a flare up.

Your doctor may decide you should do physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around the affected area. This will help the rest of your back compensate and help with the painful flare ups. There may also be emphasis put on your posture since bad posture can cause more stress on the affected area.

While some people can look forward to their back feeling better as they get older (this is due to the disc stiffening with age), there are others who may require surgery. If you have severe ongoing pain, experience numbness and tingling and/or have a hard time walking or standing, then you may be a candidate for surgery.

What does the surgery consist of?

Your back surgeon, like those found at, will determine the best course of action for your condition. However, most times the surgery for degenerative disc disease will revolve around removing the area that's causing you pain and fusing your spine to control the movement of your back. Your surgeon will give you strict instructions on what you can and can't do following surgery. It is very important you follow their instructions perfectly. If you don't, you can compromise your back and end up worse off.